Last month I spent a couple of days with a youth group from a Dutch  secondary school. They had come to Romania to do a work project in a  Roma community. They got there through the Christian Gypsymission  Foundation and helped fixing the church building. Next to that,  every afternoon a large crowd of children came, with whom they played  games. They had brought some school materials also for the school  nextdoors, where most of these Roma children go to. I honestly have to say that initially I was rather sceptical about these  kind of trips: is it not mostly just about the experience of the  youngsters? Aren’t you rather bringing damage to the community that you  visit? These kind of questions. But now that I ‘ve been working with CGF  for a couple of years I start seeing the positive side of it too. These  youngsters indeed step out of their comfort zone to experience here the  life of Roma very closely. Their perspective is definitly being changed  by that. Next to that: the work that they do is much more than just a  bit of fixing. I spoke with the pastor of the church, where this group  was working, and he told me what the effect of this is on the people of  the church. When they come to church and see how nice and neat the  church looks, they are being stimulated to also clean and fix their own  houses and yards. And it ’s not in the first place about looking nice, but more about  order, cleanness and hygiene in their living area. That has a positive  effect on the quality of their life. So this work project of a Dutch  group of youngsters reaches much further than just fixing a church  building; it has an impact on the community as a whole. Of course the  role of the church is crucial in that! I feel priviliged that through  CGF I get into contact with many of those Gypsy churches. There I  experience that God is at work there!